Magazine article Russian Life

The Return

Magazine article Russian Life

The Return

Article excerpt

THE RETURN

Andrey Zvyagintsev, director

2003 * Russian, with English subtitles

Kino Video (www.kino.com)

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When pressed by a journalist to give a brief description of what his film, The Return, is about, Andrei Zvyagintsev said, "it's about the metaphysical incarnation of the soul's movement from the Mother to the Father." Oh, is that all?

Tellingly, beyond this rather (one suspects) purposely cryptic summary, Zvyagintsev refused to dissect his work of art, saying, "you either perceive it or not. There are things which are without answers, and there is nobody who can explain them. Either we feel them and sense them, or not. Sometimes we just give up and carry on. That's normal. I can't do much to help the members of the audience who don't understand certain things in the film. It would be like telling another person what that person is already seeing by himself."

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It is refreshing to hear someone so respect his audience.

The Return is Zvyagintsev's first film. Made for all of $500,000, the movie has been an unqualified success. It is the first Russian debut to win the Golden Lion award at the Venice Film Festival since 1962, when Andrei Tarkovsky took that prize.

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On the surface, Zvyagintsev's film is a beautifully austere thriller, packed with the oedipal tension of two boys struggling to come to terms with the return into their lives of an overbearing, morose and taciturn father. …

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